As many of our customers know, our April 30 launch of the Seattle Services Portal, SDCI’s new permitting, complaint, and inspection system, was more challenging that we had expected. Since we’ve launched, SDCI has successfully corrected or improved almost 200 issues. Many of these make the system easier to use and address our customers’ concerns.
Seattle’s buildings produce about one-third of our greenhouse gases. Reducing these emissions are critical in achieving our goal to become a carbon-neutral community by 2050. To help achieve that goal, SDCI’s updated Living Building Pilot and new 2030 Challenge Pilot go into effect on August 1. The Living Building Pilot can be used for new and existing buildings. The 2030 Challenge Pilot is focused on development that includes existing buildings.
Last year SDCI, the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD), and others collaborated with the Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) on the creation of The CAP Report: 30 Ideas for the Creation, Activation, and Preservation of Cultural Space. One of those “30 Ideas” was to create an Arts Permit Liaison position at SDCI. This new role is designed to help shepherd cultural space projects through the permitting process.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) plans to update charges for development-related services on Oct. 1, 2018, pending the adoption of a director’s rule. SPU sets separate charges for specific services the utility performs for individual customers.
On July 5, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the City of Seattle announced $5.5 million in awards through the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), part of the City’s effort to support Seattle’s existing community members and businesses in high displacement risk neighborhoods.
We updated a tip, published a new Tip, and released a draft director’s rule.
The recent launch of our new permitting, complaint, and inspection software did not meet our expectations for effectiveness and service. Customers were initially unable to access or use the system and had trouble contacting us for help. We took immediate steps to correct these issues, working with our partners in Seattle Information Technology (Seattle IT) to stabilize the system and add resources to the response teams. We continue to identify and correct other issues. Still, we know that this rocky roll-out had a negative impact on our customers and the public and I am very sorry about that. We’re working hard to make this right.
On July 1, many of the Design Review program changes that were adopted in Ordinance 125429, in October 2017, went into effect. The changes included:
new requirements for early community outreach for all projects going through Design Review; changes to the thresholds that determine which projects are required to go through Design Review; the type of Design Review that would be required.
Washington state law authorizes the Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) to impose a fee on residential and commercial building permits issued by local government agencies, plus an additional surcharge for each residential unit after the first unit (RCW 19.27.085). Each Washington county and city is required to send the money collected for this purpose to the state treasurer on a quarterly basis. SDCI has always added this fee and any related surcharges to building permits issued by the City of Seattle.
SDCI is in the process of creating a new Design Review Board to serve the Central Area. We are currently finalizing our selection of candidates to fill board positions representing local residential, community, development, business/landscape design, and design profession interests.